Fitbit Versa 4 review

Is Fitbit’s midrange smartwatch worth it?

Fitbit Versa 4
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Fitbit Versa 4 is a good-looking, midrange smartwatch with some worthwhile conveniences and above average battery life. But it suffers from inaccurate heart rate readings and limited “smart” features.

Pros

  • +

    Great, slim-profile design

  • +

    Easy to navigate

  • +

    Thorough sleep tracking

  • +

    Alexa on-board works well

  • +

    Good battery life

Cons

  • -

    Issues with heart rate accuracy

  • -

    Doesn’t properly count Active Zone Minutes

  • -

    No third-party app support

  • -

    No built-in Google programs at launch

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Fitbit Versa 4 specs

Price: $229
Colors: Graphite, Platinum, Copper Rose
Size: 40.5mm x 11.2mm
Weight: 1.33 oz
Battery life: 6 days
Waterproof?: Up to 50m
Connectivity: Bluetooth, NFC
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Voice assistant: Alexa

There was a time when the Fitbit Versa was hands-down the best Fitbit smartwatch you can buy, but things have changed. While the latest Fitbit Versa 4 has its perks, it also lacks in some glaring ways. Trade-offs are to be expected for a brand’s bottom-tier smartwatch, after all.

Compared to the Fitbit Versa 3, the Fitbit Versa 4 has an updated interface and design that streamlines navigation and resurrects a physical side button. It also has the same great 6-day battery life and the Amazon Alexa voice assistant. But the Versa 4 isn’t as strong as an activity tracker, with inaccurate heart rate readings that negatively influence earned Active Zone Minutes. It’s also not as “smart” as the Versa 3, having lost  support for third-party apps and Google Assistant.

Some of these gripes extended to the premium Fitbit Sense 2, with the two new Fitbit smart watches launching just as Fitbit’s parent company launched the first Google Pixel Watch. Still, if you’re looking for a basic step counter with sleep tracking, stamina and other small conveniences at a mid-range price, this Fitbit Versa 4 review can help you decide whether it’s the best smartwatch for you. 

Fitbit Versa 4 price and availability

The Fitbit Versa 4 is available now and costs $229 (£199, AU$379), which is the same price the Versa 3 launched at in September 2020. It’s the most affordable of the smartwatches under Google’s umbrella, with the Fitbit Sense 2 priced at $299 (£269, AU$449) and the Google Pixel Watch starting at $349 (£339, AU$549).

It’s roughly in the price range of the Apple Watch SE (2022), which starts at $249 (£259, AU$399); however, it’s a step up from the Fitbit Charge 5 activity band’s $179 (£169, AU $259) cost.

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

The Versa 4 comes with six months free of Fitbit Premium, which gives users access to the more advanced fitness and sleep tracking features, as well as Fitbit's Daily Readiness Score. The Premium membership costs $9.99 (£7.99, AU$14.99) per month, or $80 (£80, AU$129) per year once the trial has ended.

Fitbit Versa 4 review: Design and interface

The Fitbit Versa 4’s squircle design looks pretty similar to the Fitbit Versa 3 at a glance, but it features one major design change: The former capacitive touch button is now a physical touch button, which I much prefer after having used both. This button opens the app menu with a short press and launches Alexa with a long press (though this is the default, you can assign a different long-press action.)

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to aesthetics, the Versa 4 is one of my favorite smartwatches. It’s perhaps not as jewelry-like as the Fitbit Luxe, but the Copper Gold finish of my review unit felt easy to style. Plus, the device is quite lightweight and sits as flush to my wrist as the Apple Watch Series 8 (if not closer), making it comfortable for both all-day and overnight wear.

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

Fitbit’s fourth-gen Versa has an upgraded interface that takes inspiration from tile-based experience found on Wear OS, so when you swipe left or right on the touchscreen, you can see your key apps and metrics. Otherwise the watch face itself can be changed in the Fitbit app. I feel that there’s an ample selection of options, though each individual face isn’t as customizable as those on Wear OS or Apple's wearOS platform.

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

The Versa 4 offers further personalization with interchangeable watch straps. I embraced swapping out Fitbit watch straps with the Sense 2, so I’m glad that the variety of bands work with both devices. I especially like the perforated sport bands, perhaps because it reminds me of the Nike Apple Watch band.

Fitbit Versa 4 review: Fitness tracking

The Fitbit Versa 4 experience relies heavily on fitness tracking, which I found to be both an asset and setback. On one hand, with the Fitbit Premium membership the Versa 4 enables thorough sleep tracking, a Daily Readiness Score that gauges recovery, meditation guidance and motivational community challenges. It also has support for 40 workout types, automatic workout tracking and does step-counting very well. 

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

But during my tennis, walking and yoga workouts, I noticed significant discrepancies with the heart rate tracker. Compared to the Apple Watch Ultra, the Versa 4’s heart rate readings read 10-to-15 bpm lower at any given moment. I witnessed a similar gap when I tried wearing the Versa 4 at the same time as the Pixel Watch, which has one of the most impressive heart rate sensors I’ve seen for a smartwatch. As someone who checks their heart rate consistently during exercise to manage effort, the Versa 4’s inaccuracy left me frustrated. It also makes me question how a user could trust the watch’s high and low heart rate alerts. 

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve reached out to Fitbit about these readings, and the company responded by pointing out the difference in algorithms between Fitbit and Apple Watch resulting in different heart rate readings. However, other reviewers from Connect the Watts and our sister site TechRadar have also noted similar issues with their review units.

That said, if you’re not as keen on checking your heart rate, this might not matter much to you. Though, again, it drove me mad that I didn’t earn Active Zone Minutes when I knew I was putting the work in. Active Zone Minutes is how Fitbit encourages movement, with the goal being to bank the WHO’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. I’m normally a fan of this feature, but not on the Versa 4. 

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

Luckily, the heart rate reading errors didn’t extend as severely to sleep tracking. In fact, the Versa 4 is a great sleep-tracking smartwatch. The data collected overnight reflected my understanding of my night, with the watch noticing when I woke up to doom scroll as well as the different stages of my sleep cycle. Every month you’ll get a sleep profile, or overview of your sleep habits. Fitbit will also assign you an animal that illustrates your sleep behavior, so that you might better understand your metrics.

Fitbit Versa 4 review: Smartwatch features

Fitbit-slash-Google scaled back some of the smart features on Fitbit smartwatches this year. You can’t download music for offline playback or install any third-party apps on the Versa smartwatch anymore. These features are apparently now reserved for the Google Pixel Watch with Wear OS. This does bother me a bit since Apple doesn’t put the same wearOS restrictions on the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch SE (2022) despite the price difference.

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

The Versa 4 does get the basics right, with timers, alarms, weather reports and a find my phone function. It also mirrors smartphone notifications from either iOS or Android smartphones, though only those with Android phones can actually answer and continue calls on their wrist. And the phone must remain in Bluetooth range of the Versa 4 for this to work, of course. There’s no LTE option for Fitbit smartwatches. By comparison the Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, the two best smartwatches for Android, don’t have iOS compatibility but do have the option to stay connected independently with cellular support.

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

I’d consider Alexa on-board the “smartest” thing about the Versa 4. While it’s weird that the Versa 4 doesn’t also have Google Assistant (the Versa 3 lets you choose either assistant,) Alexa is definitely ample. I asked Alexa for nearby restaurant recommendations, updates on my Amazon packages and to set reminders. 

Currently, the Fitbit Versa 4 can be used for contactless payments with Fitbit Pay, which I was able to set up in the Fitbit app. Fitbit said Google Pay is coming soon to the Versa 4 as an alternative NFC payment option, while Google Maps is also due to arrive for help with directions. No word on when exactly these apps will be available, but stay tuned.

Fitbit Versa 4 review: Battery life

Battery life could be a reason to get the Fitbit Versa 4 if you don’t feel very strongly about the pros and cons of the watch’s features I detailed above. Fitbit rates the Versa 4’s battery life for 6 days, which is the same as the Fitbit Sense 2 and previous Fitbit Versa 3, but still excellent by smartwatch standards. The Pixel Watch and Apple Watch SE both last about a day, while the Galaxy Watch 5 lasts just over two days. The Garmin Forerunner 55 blows the Versa 4 away with 2 weeks of battery life, but truly just the best Garmin watches and certain Amazfit watches have the Fitbit’s stamina beat.

Fitbit Versa 4

(Image credit: Future)

In my experience, the Versa 4 can last up to 6 days, but that’s without the always-on display enabled and limited workout/GPS tracking. With the always-on display enabled, the battery drains more quickly — I managed about 2.5 days. Personally, I’d skip the always-on option for better battery life, but that’s my preference. It’s there if you want it.

The Versa 4 comes with Fitbit’s proprietary charger with USB-A, which doesn’t seem as archaic as it did with the Sense 2 based on price. My unit charged up from dead to full in an hour.

Fitbit Versa 4 review: Verdict

The Fitbit Versa 4 isn’t the best smartwatch for most people to buy right now, but that’s not to say you should exclude it from your short list. There’s actually a lot I like about it; it’s just too bad the things I didn’t like about the watch matter more to me. Accurate heart rate readings and earning Active Zone Minutes are marquee features of former Fitbit devices, so it’s a pity that neither are up to par on this device. If this was fixed, it would be easier to look past the limited smart features, too.

Depending on your needs, the Versa 4 might have enough basic conveniences to offer: counting steps, mirroring your smartphone notifications and lasting nearly a week on a charge are all some people look for out of a smartwatch. Good sleep tracking and Alexa on-board are other perks. I would have an easier time recommending it as one of the best cheap smartwatches if it cost less than $200, but I guess that’s what Fitbit deals are for. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to get a Fitbit Versa 3 on sale as retailers clear stock, either. 

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.